Memphis AD offers reassurance on basketball program - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Memphis AD offers reassurance on basketball program

Tigers head coach Tubby Smith (Source: Austin McAfee/WMC Action News 5) Tigers head coach Tubby Smith (Source: Austin McAfee/WMC Action News 5)

University of Memphis Athletic Director Tom Bowen is offering a bit of reassurance when it comes to the men’s basketball team.

Bowen said he has spoken with head coach Tubby Smith and while they are disappointed with the high number of players transferring from the program, they are still optimistic about the future of the basketball program, starting with national signing day.

Bowen issued the following statement:

“Dear Tiger Nation:

The past several days have been challenging ones for our University of Memphis men’s basketball program. I met with Coach Tubby Smith at length, and while student-athletes deciding to leave our University has been difficult to watch, it has not surprised us. 

Across the country, more than 700 Division I men’s basketball student-athletes transferred last year. That record number of transfers is expected to be eclipsed again this year, as this trend continues to grow.

However, Coach Smith and I are extremely optimistic about the future of our program.  Coach and his staff have been actively recruiting experienced student-athletes to play at the University of Memphis in the 2017-18 season and beyond. Beginning tomorrow, on national signing day, we will be announcing the newest members of the Tiger basketball program, along with an in-depth look at the returning players and those that have already signed a national letter of intent.

I ask you to be supportive of the process and this program as well. Coach Smith and his staff are creating the building blocks that will allow our men’s basketball program to flourish in the classroom, the community and on the court. Thank you for your passion of Tiger athletics and Go Tigers Go!”

The statement comes one day after Dedric and KJ Lawson announced they will be transferring to Kansas, and Markel Crawford announced his intent to transfer. Those three were the Tigers’ top scorers in 2016-17.

The only returning Tigers for the next season are Jeremiah Martin and Jimario Rivers.

Memphis is coming off a 19-13 season in which they missed the postseason. The program has not made the NCAA Tournament since 2012-13.

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